How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Carboplatin belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the group of antineoplastics known as platinum-containing compounds. Carboplatin prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for reproduction of cells. Carboplatin is usually used to treat a particular type of cancer of the ovaries.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each mL of sterile aqueous solution contains carboplatin 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: none. Preservative-free.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose varies according to body size or kidney function.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Carboplatin is given as an intravenous (into the vein) injection. This medication is most often given as a single injection (given over 15 to 60 minutes) and may be repeated after at least 4 weeks depending on response. Your doctor may decide on a dosage schedule different from that described here.
Carboplatin will be injected by the doctor or by someone under direct supervision of the doctor. The medication is usually injected through a specially prepared site on the skin. Very careful handling of this medication is required. It is always administered in a hospital or similar setting with access to sterile equipment for preparation.
As well as interfering with the genetic material DNA of cancer cells, carboplatin can interfere with some of your normal cells. This can cause a number of side effects such as nausea. Keep track of any side effects and report them to your doctor.
It is important this medication be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive carboplatin, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take carboplatin if you:
- are sensitive or allergic to carboplatin or any ingredients of the medication
- are sensitive or allergic to platinum-containing compounds
- have severely reduced bone marrow function
- have severely reduced kidney function
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- hair loss
- taste disturbances
- tiredness and weakness
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- changes in hearing or vision
- fever or chills
- lower back or side pain with fever or chills
- numbness or tingling in fingers and toes
- pain where injection took place
- signs of bleeding (e.g., bloody, black, or tarry stools, vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds, blood in the urine, unusual bruising or bleeding, cuts that won't stop bleeding, nosebleeds)
- skin rash or itching
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a skin reaction at the injection site (e.g., red streaks along vein where medication was injected, pain at injection site, redness, or warmth at site of injection)
- signs of infection (symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness, cough or hoarseness)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people with contagious infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidneys: If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
This medication should not be given to anyone with severely reduced kidney function unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Red blood cells: Carboplatin may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired, or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defect if either the man or woman is using carboplatin at the time of conception, or if it is taken during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced while using this medication. This medication may harm the baby if used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if carboplatin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The prescribing of carboplatin for treatment of cancers in children should be done only by a doctor who has experience with the use of this medication for children.
Seniors: Seniors are at an increased risk of side effects with carboplatin as the kidneys may not be able to remove the medication from the body as effectively. Lower doses may be needed.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between carboplatin and any of the following:
- aminoglycoside antibiotics (e.g., amikacin, gentamicin, plicamycin, tobramycin)
- amphotericin B
- other cancer medications
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.